RCHE Publications

Performance Comparison of Two Open Access Scheduling Policies in Outpatient Clinics

Ronald L. Rardin, Industrial Engineering
Xiuli Qu
Julie Ann Williams

Document Type Article


To improve the accessibility to medical clinics and reduce patient no-shows, open access scheduling provides open appointments to be scheduled in a short time horizon. Typically, the time horizon of open appointments varies from one day to one week in open access clinics. In this paper, we investigate whether more than one time horizons of open appointments should be used in an open access clinic. We propose a hybrid open access policy adopting two time horizons of open appointments. It is compared to the current open access policy with one time horizon of open appointments. Our analytical results show that the hybrid open access policy is never worse than the current open access policy in terms of the maximum expectation and minimum variance of the number of patients consulted. Moreover, our numerical results demonstrate that in most situations, the hybrid policy only slightly changes the performance of open access scheduling. However, for a clinic with large difference between the no-show rates of day-ahead and same-day appointments and/or strong positive correlation between demands, the proposed hybrid policy can considerably reduces the minimum variance of the number of patients consulted.